As a Baby- Friendly® institution, the hospital upholds the strict breastfeeding requirements and guidelines set in place by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
To receive Baby-Friendly® status, institutions must successfully implement the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” which include providing appropriate education to enable families to make informed decisions about infant feeding, encouraging mothers to hold their babies skin-to-skin immediately following birth, and offering expert lactation support throughout and beyond the hospital stay. Baby-Friendly® practices are designed to optimize mother-baby bonding and to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in the first few days of a new baby’s life.
Flushing Hospital has successfully fulfilled the requirements for Baby-Friendly® designation by implementing several breastfeeding initiatives within the hospital and in the communities it serves.
“We serve a diverse population of patients at Flushing Hospital with representation of many different ethnicities and cultures. We are proud to provide breastfeeding education in several languages at public libraries and offer classes and support groups at our facility, free of charge,” states Maria D. Smilios, Director of Nursing.
“Our goal is to educate expectant mothers on how breastfeeding is a key nutritional value for their newborns, and how it fortifies bonding between the new mom and baby,” shares Jimena Grimaldi, Lactation Consultant.
Flushing Hospital’s goals are in line with Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding objectives put in place by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services- to increase the number of infants that have ever breastfed to 81% and increase the number of infants breastfeeding at six months of age to 60.6%.
Scientific evidence demonstrates the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of infants. It has been found that babies who are fed breastmilk exclusively during the first six months of life are less likely to develop respiratory diseases such as asthma and have reduced risks of ear infections, obesity, diabetes, as well as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
“Each year, Flushing Hospital delivers approximately 3,000 babies, and we strongly support the philosophy that every child has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, beginning with providing mothers with the resources needed on how to supply their babies with the best nutrition possible,” explains Smilios.
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